This has been bothering me for a while, and now I’ve got the time, I think I’ll have a good old fashioned Losing it mutter about it.
It seems to be increasingly common when public spaces like stations and shopping malls are refurbished for the designers to select nice attractive floor tiles that become extremely slippery when they get wet. Newcastle Central Station has some in the main concourse which look very nice, but are really dangerous to walk on when they get wet. Part of the problem is the choice of material, and part is the way they have the floors cleaned, which involves polishing with machines that leave a lovely clear film on top of the tiles. Brilliant. And lethal.
Another example is in Gateshead Interchange, where buses meet Metros, and where I took this picture.
This was very nicely rebuilt a couple of years ago after years of being generally draughty and tatty. But what’s this? Could they? Have they? Oooooooh, yes. Tiles that become dangerous in wet weather. Wonderful. Given that a lot of the people who use the interchange are elderly, frail, or otherwise likely to suffer more damage than average if they fall on a hard and slippery surface, this is a bit of a problem. But never fear! They’ve solved the problem! Yes, they put up these signs. Genius. Now I presume they think this actually helps, and I suppose it does to some extent. If you’re aware that the floor is slippery, you’ll probably walk with a little more care. But when someone does slip and actually hurts themselves, I can see it being very interesting. While they might claim that the sign is intended as a safety warning, I could see it being argued that it’s an admission that they knew the floor was dangerous, but failed to do anything about it. Great fun for the lawyers…